Jonah 1:4-6: The Storm
Storms have proven to be effective means of bringing people closer to God. It was Martin Luther’s prayer in a thunderstorm that resulted in him giving up his law studies and taking up monastic vows. Louis Zamperini the WWII air gunner who was shot down and was stuck in a life raft for days lost at sea cried out for God to save him in the middle of a storm. John Newton while bailing out water in a damaged ship in the midst of a storm cried out to God for salvation. Jonah is another who God brings closer to Himself through the use of a storm. Jonah the self-righteous racist who doesn’t want God to save his enemies is on the run trying to secure the destruction of his enemies. However, God will not let Him go, God brings a storm to hunt him down, bring him to his senses, and not only restore him to obedience but to a clear knowledge of grace.
Francis Thopmson’s famous poem, The Hound of Heaven describes well this pursuit of a God who loves sinners.
I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated
Adown titanic glooms of chasmed hears
From those strong feet that followed, followed after
But with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat, and a Voice beat,
More instant than the feet:
All things betray thee who betrayest me.
As we look at Jonah’s experience of the storm we will look at how God brings storms into our lives and for what purpose, but we also want to see what God wants to teach Jonah through the sailors.